Country Cousins


(painting by Lucy Pratt, “First Poppy”, oil on canvas 32×32 inches)

My country cousin James made his money in property and business in London, then in his late thirties moved permanently to the country which he loved and was where he came from. James was a good looking charmer with a big personality, a sophisticated, much traveled sporting and ladies man. He was older than me and one Sunday when I was at my Boy Scout camp turned up in an old touring open Bentley with a big leather strap round the bonnet and a beautiful girl, I was so proud. I got on with James, when I was thirteen he gave me my first fly fishing rod which I still have and regaled me with stories like shooting crocodiles on the Upper Nile. Then when I was older we used to go clubbing and gaming together. James was a hunting, shooting, fishing and racing man who’s first love was the country. Some time after he died, Justin his son and I went back to the village that side of the family come from and Justin scattered his father’s ashes around the Norman church where generations of our ancestors are buried, the family came over with the Conqueror. The rest of the ashes Justin scattered deep in the countryside, in a beautiful wooded valley his father loved so much.. Justin, a ‘chip off the old block’ is very like his father. He was in film producing in London, then married and moved back to the country, which like his father he loves. In a beautiful spot just outside Chipping Norton Justin has his very successful website design company, Blue Smarty. His lovely wife Lucy is a painter with an international reputation (Lucy Pratt) and has her studio in their large house. Altogether they have the perfect place for them to work and bring the kids up, with Lucy like Justin having her heart in the English countryside.

My country cousins,




Josephine is Hornets Rabbit in Residence, she is a star, the most beautiful rabbit I have ever seen.

Somebody dared to call her an ‘Easter Bunny’, this is an outrage, there is nothing bunnyish about this beautiful creature at all. She is a lady of quality and style, the black and white is superb, such elegance.

Josephine has a passport and this Easter is in Berlin involved in an art project.

An ‘Easter Bunny’ no, ‘the’ Easter Rabbit, yes.

‘So there’ as I used to say when I was a little boy.




An Englishman dressed for an Easter weekend at the seaside 1930’s.


Where it all started.

The first Hornets, tucked away just north of Marylebone.
Fortunately opposite the Priory Clinic which had a lot of famous and creative clients, some of them old friends of Bill Hornets. Word quickly got around the town about our style and stock.
Every Saturday morning there was champagne and caviar in the back room behind the shop, or Vodka and caviar, which ever was preferred.
This was really the beginning of Hornets international reputation. It was very clubby and friendly, as it still is.


Hornets old friend Ramano is open for Sunday lunch. His Italian restaurant is just down the road from our Church Street shop Here is the point, some of you like Italian, some English traditional. Together you can have both before or after your Sunday visit to Hornets Ladies and Gents shops.



Diana Diors. Actress.

A British National Treasure.

I was in what was then ‘the club’ in London, I’d been out of town for a while. A friend from my student days came bowling over, it was Lakey, a big guy with a big personality, I’d always liked him. He dragged me over to meet ‘the wife’ it was Diana Diors.

I was overcome, not with Diana’s clamorous stardom and celebratory but by her huge warmth and charm and her dazzling smile.

Laughing I said all the right things about Lakey, it was easy, as I liked him and Diana was very complementary about me. Chatting we had a few drinks, then I left to join friends I was meeting.

I often saw Lakey and Diana around town, then one day I was at a Charity ‘do’ at the Savoy and there was Diana. We were talking when Sir Hugh Wontner of the Savoy group joined us, I introduced them. Sir Hugh, that sophisticated, powerful, cleaver, ruthless and much honoured man became a laughing boy as Diana with that wonderful smile chatted away he was captivated, I excused myself and did the rounds, thinking Diana was one of the most natural people I had ever met.

Diana Diors, a great lady, a superb actress and truly a National Treasure, the People loved her.